Commuting to and from Cornwall: Could it work for you?

The last two years have seen a huge shift in the way people work, with more and more companies and organisations embracing hybrid and remote working practices. For many people, this has made the dream of relocating to Cornwall achievable for the first time – but commuting to and from London and other major cities is still an issue.

If your future plans involve working for a national or multinational company, with regular meetings or travel alongside home or hybrid working, then listen up! We’re here to give you some honest information on your travel options and commute times, so you can assess the feasibility of a big move west. 

We believe that a commute from Cornwall might not be as much of a headache as many suspect. Here’s a breakdown of the easiest ways to get to London as an example, for those essential in-person meetings. 

By Road…

On a good day, with minimal traffic, it can take just over five hours to get from Truro in the heart of Cornwall to London by car. From the Wadebridge area in North Cornwall, journey times are slightly faster.

Routes include taking the A30 straight up to Exeter or, alternatively, the A38 through Saltash and Plymouth, then onto the M5. At Exeter you can choose to carry on until you reach the M4 at Bristol or avoid the motorways altogether and join the A303 up to the capital instead.

The only large, motorway-style service station in Cornwall is called Cornwall Services and is on the A30 at the Victoria Interchange Junction midway between Exeter and Penzance. It has everything you would expect from a major service station – including food and drink providers, a petrol station, toilets and cash points – as well as some surprises, such as a huge soft play area, a Clip n Climb centre, and clothing and surf shops.

There are also motorway service stations along the M5 at Exeter, Cullompton, Tiverton, Taunton Deane, Bridgwater, Sedgemoor South and Sedgemoor North, Gordano and along the M4 at Leigh Delamere, Membury, Chieveley, Reading, Heston and along the A303 at regular intervals. 

Of course, driving long distances regularly will increase your carbon footprint significantly. If you own an electric or hybrid vehicle you’ll feel much better about the trip, environmentally and financially! Check Zap Map for fast and rapid charging points along your route, and do some research into how your vehicle will fare on your prospective journey.

Estimated road journey times:

  • Truro to London: 5 hr 10 min (284 miles) via A30, M5 and M4
  • Wadebridge to London: 4 hr 59 min (266 miles) via M5 and M4 or 5 hr (267 miles) via A30, M5 and M4
  • Penzance to London: 5 hr 35 min (306 miles) via A30, M5 and M4

Check ahead for travel disruption with Google Maps the AA Route Planner or the RAC Route Planner.

By Rail…

It takes an average of 5h 4m to travel from Truro to London by train and there are normally 21 trains per day. Tickets for this journey start from £40.60, and you get the best deals when you book in advance.

Although rail services do suffer disruption which can be frustrating, trains remain a really efficient, pleasant and environmentally friendly way to travel from Cornwall to London and elsewhere across the UK. Also, stating the obvious, they’re an efficient use of time, as you can work while travelling!

There are several handy branch line services in Cornwall which join the main London to Paddington line at various points. So, you can travel from St Ives, Falmouth, Newquay and Looe to join National Rail services to London, The Midlands and The North.  

Alternatively, take the Night riviera sleeper train and wake up at London Paddington! With comfortable cabins fitted out with plug sockets, USB points, a sink, tabletop, wardrobe and storage space, and a complimentary breakfast served on arrival, it’s practically a hotel on wheels. 

If booked on the sleeper service you can use First Class lounges at Penzance, Truro and Paddington before you leave and when you arrive. The train leaves Penzance at 9:45pm and arrives in London at 5:04 am, however you can stay on board until 6:45am. A single occupancy cabin costs between £40 and £95 per person. 

By Air…

You can fly to London from Newquay in about 1 hr 15 mins for approximately £65.00 – £150.00 per flight. Therefore, this is probably your quickest option, although it’s also likely to be the most expensive mode of transport both financially and in terms of your carbon footprint. Frequent flyers might want to look at carbon offsetting or a monthly subscription to a climate action organisation.

There are currently Two flights a day scheduled by Eastern Airways from Newquay Airport to London Gatwick. Times vary depending on the day of travel. You can reach central London in just 30 minutes by train from Gatwick and use an Oyster card all the way from the airport, so no need to queue for tickets when you arrive.

Newquay Airport’s small terminal has two cafes, a souvenir shop, vending machines and free Wifi. For a little added comfort, economy class passengers can pay to enter an airport lounge, which is open 5:30AM–10:00PM daily.

Here at Harding Laity, we are one of Cornwall’s leading estate agents with offices in St Ives and Wadebridge. As you can see, we love sharing our local knowledge! So, if you’re looking to buy a house in Cornwall or sell with a Cornish property specialist on hand to give you top-tips, why not get-in-touch and start the conversation today!